Musician Tara Watts pleads with cyclists to wear helmets
'I'm lucky to be walking and talking today. So I think the wear and tear on your hair is worth it'
A local musician hopes her tale of personal injury serves as a stark reminder of why it's so important for cyclists to wear helmets.
Tara Watts, a musician and songwriter with roots in folk, gospel and rock, went out for a bike ride — without a helmet — last week and that's the last thing she remembers about her trip.
"I don't have any recollection of the night," Watts said. "I don't know what happened, to be honest, other than I got pretty banged up."
Her next recollection is one of being at a hospital, covered in blood.
A woman found Watts on the ground and called an ambulance. Watts doesn't know if she was hit by a vehicle or took a spill.
"All I know is the woman that called the ambulance found me on Facebook, which is wonderful. She let me know she found me on Windermere Road near Ottawa Street, I guess, but she didn't give me much more information than that," Watts said.
Watts sustained a litany of injuries.
"I have [a] concussion and a brain bleed and then a lot of road rash, as well," Watts said.
Watts has been receiving a lot of well wishes on her Facebook page.
She said she loves everyone in Windsor too much to see them go through something similar.
She learned the hard way to wear a helmet and wants everyone who rides to wear one.
"I have friends all my life that tell me, and my folks tell me all the time, to wear my helmet," Watts said.
She would always respond with: "It's not worth it."
"I'm always the girl who likes to ride the cute little bike with the cute little dress," Watts said.
Watts no longer believes a helmet isn't worth it.
"I've learned the hard way that it's worth it. I'm lucky to be alive. I'm lucky to have a memory," she said. "I'm lucky to be walking and talking today. So I think the wear and tear on your hair is worth it."
Doctors told her she will need six weeks of recovery and is staying with her parents so they can keep an eye on her. But she said she can't wait that long to get back to work.
"Unfortunately, as a musician, I don't have medical coverage and I'm a bartender as well, so I don't have the luxury for that kind of time," Watts said. "If I'm not at a gig, I don't get paid."
Watts said not every driver is aware of bikers on the roads so cyclists need to watch out for themselves.
"Sometimes, you're not seen and so you have got to do what's best for you and look out for yourself because not necessarily will everyone else will be doing so," Watts said. "So spend a couple of bucks and get yourself a damn helmet."